Cory Major: “Our goal is to have the right people in the right places doing the right work to move our students forward.” (Courtesy photo)

Deciding to promote from within, Southwest Tennessee Community College has named Cory Major vice president for student affairs.

Major had been serving as interim vice president for student affairs since January. His new title became effective on May 16.

Major assumed the interim role to provide strategic direction for the division, which includes admissions, financial aid, records, advising, and student retention and support programs. He did so after the departures of the division’s vice president for student affairs and associate vice president for enrollment. 

Southwest President Tracy D. Hall said Major stepped in when the division needed leadership and immediately began to move the needle on enrollment and set a sound strategic direction for continued growth. 

“Cory has done a phenomenal job as interim vice president, making outstanding contributions to our strategic planning and helping our enrollment to trend in the right direction,” Hall said. 

“His experience with serving student populations like ours prior to his arrival at Southwest is exemplary and what he has accomplished in the short time he has been with us is remarkable.”

Since his arrival at Southwest, Major has onboarded a new K-12 and community partnerships associate director and overseen new processes that help new students move through the admissions process faster and encourage current students to register for upcoming semesters earlier. 

“Our goal is to have the right people in the right places doing the right work to move our students forward,” Major said.

He said he looks forward to continuing to help Southwest  leaders increase student access and success.

“Southwest is building a nurturing community where students can grow intellectually, thrive socially and live purposefully,” he said. 

“As a higher education professional, my mission is to help build a society where anyone can achieve his or her full potential, regardless of their background. My personal mission and the Southwest mission truly align. I am proud to be a part of the Saluqi family.”

Major has more than 20 years of higher education experience, working at community colleges, small liberal arts colleges, land grants and large research-extensive universities. He has worked in career services, multicultural student services, student success and retention and educational opportunity programs.

Much of his work has been geared toward increasing access and success among students from historically underserved populations.

Prior to joining Southwest in 2021, Major served as the first-ever director of the Office of First-Generation Student Success at University of Memphis, where he led the university’s national partnership to create a model program aimed at increasing success among students who are the first in their family to go to college. 

In 2018, he served as the director of student support services at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where he focused on supporting first-generation college students.

He also has served as dean of academic services and faculty development at Christian Brothers University and as associate director in the Office of Minority Student Affairs at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois.

Major earned a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies from Excelsior College in Albany, NY, placing him among the first in his family to earn a bachelor’s degree. He also earned a Master of Science in Leadership and Policy Studies from the University of Memphis.